Here comes CPI inflation …

hot air balloon

Investors are keenly awaiting the consumer price index for January, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release at 8:30 a.m. ET.

That’s because it could relieve or intensify concerns about inflation and higher interest rates that helped drive the stock market into its first correction in two years. On February 2, the January jobs report showed the fastest year-over-year growth in average hourly earnings since 2008.

Economists polled by Bloomberg forecast CPI, which tracks price changes of a basket of consumer goods, increased by 0.3% month-on-month. Core CPI, which strips out the volatile costs of food and energy, is expected to climb 0.2% from December.

Year-over-year, economists estimate that CPI rose 1.9%, and 1.7% on a core basis.

According to Bloomberg economists, inflation likely pulled back last month after unusual jumps in the prices of cars and medical products.

In the long run, however, “inflation is probably heading higher,” Lewis Alexander, Nomura’s chief economist, said in a preview. “Peering through the specifics and looking at the bigger picture, the key issue in our view at present is that fiscal policy is becoming more expansionary at a time when many economies are already at (or close to) full employment.”

That scenario strengthens the case for the Fed and other central banks to continue raising rates, which is what helped drive the recent discomfort in markets.

More to come …

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Source:: Business Insider


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